Gambit booked the last spot in the BLAST Premier Spring Final following a hard-fought 2-1 victory over Heroic in the semi-final stage of the Showdown tournament. It was sweet revenge for the current world No. 1 team, who had lost to the Danes a week ago in dramatic fashion in the ESL Pro League final after a five-map marathon.
Both teams showed a different side today and dominated on each other’s map pick. The decider map, Train, went the way of Gambit, who recovered from a 7-0 deficit and put in an outstanding offensive display to win the series and restate their claim as the best team in the world right now.
“We got a lot of experience from Pro League,” Abay “Hobbit” Khasenov said after the match. “Today, we are better. We’re getting better every day. We’re gaining experience from every tournament.
“It’s all about our IGL, nafany. As I’ve said before, he can be the best IGL in the world. He just needs time and experience. In EPL, he was a bit stressed. Our team is still inexperienced.”
Heroic made a bright start to the series, picking up a 3-0 lead on the T side of Inferno, their map pick, thanks to a pair of Casper “cadiaN” Møller clutches. The Danish in-game leader tried his best to rally his troops, but the team’s attacking threat waned as the game entered the gun stages: Gambit tightened up and immediately took the upper hand, ending the half with nine rounds to their name after keeping Heroic from stringing rounds together.
Gambit showed no signs of slowing down after the break and further added to their lead after a solid start to their T side. Heroic looked set to claim the first gun round of half until Sergey “Ax1Le” Rykhtorov and Vladislav “nafany” Gorshkov clutched a 2v4 situation, effectively ending the Danes’ slim comeback hopes.
Rasmus “sjuush” Beck opened the action on Vertigo with a quick quad-kill to fire Heroic into the lead on the offence. Gambit managed to respond only six rounds into the game – with Dmitry “sh1ro” Sokolov then pulling off a 1v2 clutch -, but the rest of the half was dominated by the Danish side, who cut through Gambit‘s defence with ease, limiting the CIS team to just four rounds in the half.
Gambit kept themselves in the game by picking up the opening three rounds as Terrorists, but their grip on the game was weak. Heroic picked themselves up once they had guns to work with and quickly locked down the map to level the series.
Heroic carried their momentum into Train, where they hopped out to a 7-0 lead on the T side, with René “TeSeS” Madsen and sjuush leading the charge with a combined 20 frags – two-thirds of the team’s total. Things were starting to look desperate for Gambit as the half reached its midway point, but then the CIS team finally got into their stride, heading into the break down by just one round after enjoying a spell of dominance.
Heroic came out of the break the livelier of the two teams, but their defence began to crack in the gun rounds. Gambit took control of proceedings and shut down any chances of their opponents stringing rounds together – despite strong individual plays from TeSeS and Ismail “refrezh” Ali – to run out winners of this keenly-contested map.
“We need to chill a bit and get some days off,” Hobbit said. “I already have a headache, we’ve been playing a lot. We need to relax for two or three days. Yesterday, we were practising and we just didn’t want to play. But it’s working, that’s the main thing. Our coach and our analyst said that we had to play and practice. They’re geniuses. That’s it.”